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Thursday, November 27, 2014


The year was 1988 and I was pretending to be a math teacher, athletic director, and head football coach at a school on the rolling plains of Texas.  The assistant superintendent of that school asked me and three other faculty members to attend a workshop in April of that year.  The training was dedicated to helping schools meet the needs of at-risk students.

I agreed to attend.  Only then was I informed that the training would be a whole week in length.  Yep, five whole days away from my math students and athletic teams during the month of April.  That's a tall order for an educator.  I began to have second thoughts about participating, but stuck with the commitment anyway.

I learned a lot of important stuff that week.  About the antecedents to at-risk-edness.  About the ways schools can address both the root causes and the symptoms of at-risk-edness.  About myself - as a teacher, as a coach, as a parent, as a school leader.

Each of the five days of that training the presenter began the day with exactly the same sentence:  "This is a process, not an event."

He understood that each of the folks in that training (around 60 of us, from a wide range school districts) were each working in different schools, with different contexts, with different students, and working from different experiences personally.  In effect, he understood and overtly stated daily, so that we would begin to understand, that learning is a process.  It has no beginning point, and it certainly has no ending point.  It occurs in fits and starts, and it is inseparably intertwined with our personal contexts. 

Yep, I learned a great deal that week.  The most profound lesson for me was the realization that LEARNING (mine and yours) is a process, not an event.

I am profoundly thankful that BillieM pushed me to attend that training, and even more thankful that some 26 years later I still get to learn with/from her.  It's a process, you know.

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